Lionel Messi: Pep Guardiola analysing his first five minutes of a match

Pep Guardiola on Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi is currently the favourite to win the Ballon d’Or next month.

The Argentine superstar is on course to win the prestigious accolade for the seventh time after he led his nation to Copa America glory in the summer.

Despite being favourite for the biggest individual prize in football, Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain career has got off to a relatively slow start.

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READ MORE: Ballon d'Or 2021: Date, UK Time, Odds, Nominees And Everything You Need To Know

He’s scored just three goals in eight appearances in all competitions and L’Equipe featured him on their front page on Friday calling out his ‘slow start.’

But many believe Messi is the greatest player to have ever played the game. And it’s difficult to argue against.

Messi on L'Equipe

He’s won everything there is to win at Barcelona, scoring 672 in 778 appearances for the Camp Nou club.

But at the age of 34, Messi has had to adapt his game.

You won’t expect him to be charging around the pitch, pressing defenders for 90 minutes. In fact, he doesn’t run at all in the opening few minutes of the game.

Lionel Messi: Can you get 20/20 on this quiz about his Barcelona career?

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At what age did Messi join Barcelona?

Some say he’s lazy but there’s actually a method to his madness.

In fact, one of the greatest managers in the history of the game has explained it.

Pep Guardiola managed Messi during some of his peak years at Barcelona and insisted that the superstar isn’t simply walking around but is actually surveying the scene.

VIDEO: Guardiola analyses Messi in the first five minutes

"He’s not out of the game," Guardiola explained. "He’s involved. Moving his head. Right, left, left, right. He smells who is the weak point of the back four. After five, ten minutes, he has the map. He knows if I move here, here, I will have more space to attack.

"Oh, that’s genius! That is quite incredible. We are contemporary of that guy. So enjoy it. Lionel Messi, just simply one of a kind. He is so good.”

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